Māori political play looks credible

Māori political interests are becoming clearer and look like they are aiming for real gains – and it doesn’t look favourable for the Labour Party, who appears to be losing it’s connection with yet another pew from it’s once broad church.

Maiki Sherman has an in depth and fascinating analysis of Māori political manoeuvrings at Newshub – Opinion: Māori politics now a Game of Thrones.

In short, the Kīngitanga movement appears to be teaming up with the Māori Party, and they are working towards an alliance with Hone Harawira and the Mana Party.

The person at the centre of this is Tuku Morgan, ex NZ First MP and now a closer adviser to Kīngi Tuheitia and president of the Māori Party.

If this works it could put a strong bloc of Māori in a strong political position, competing with NZ First for holding possible balance of power after next year’s election.

And it will either sideline Labour from power, or it have a powerful influence over a Labour led coalition.

National could be the main benefactors – apart from Māori.

As next year’s election looms closer, the power plays have begun.

And right at the centre of it is the King himself – Kīngi Tuheitia, the Māori Monarch. His movement, the Kīngitanga, is reasserting its relevance.

The King’s annual address is the only time he speaks publicly.

Over the years, his speeches have included the personal criticisms faced by the King and the overwhelming need to reaffirm the relevance of the King Movement.

Of equal importance, and intrinsically tied to the two points just mentioned, are the ever-increasing political themes seen in the King’s yearly speech.

Māori water rights, Kōhanga Reo, a Treaty of Waitangi claim to greater Auckland, and the question of sovereignty.

All of these issues have been part of an attempt to assert the power of the Kīngitanga.  

However, the King Movement does not command the same power it once had with the Government of the time.

The movement itself, as noted by the King in his annual addresses, has had to work on rebuilding its support amongst the Māori people.    

A king with fractured support from his own tribes is a king whose power is also fractured, leaving cracks for any government to divide and conquer.

Securing major concessions such as shared sovereignty then would be an uphill battle.

And so, politically at least, a strategy is needed to strengthen the King’s hand in the realm of Parliament.

Cue the King’s speech of 2016 that attacked Labour.

It was claimed the King went off script this year. But this is not the case.

Labour leader Andrew Little was set up – he was sitting front and centre moments before the King’s address was delivered.

The King said he would not be voting for Labour again and criticised the leader for his unwillingness to work with the Māori Party.

He then went on to back the Māori Party, with a nod also to Hone Harawira’s Mana Movement.  

The King’s Hand – Tukoroirangi Morgan

Tukoroirangi Morgan has been the King’s Hand – the King’s closest adviser – for many years.

And Morgan now has another job – he was recently appointed President of the Māori Party.

He is expected to be a game-changer for the Māori Party. The latest developments with the Kīngitanga support is a clear sign of this.

Morgan’s strategy and game plan will be well thought out.

The first move was to extend an olive branch to the Mana Movement. Breakfast with Hone Harawira.

And the backing of both the Māori Party and Mana Movement by the King in his annual address was anything but a coincidence.  

The Marriage of Convenience – Mana Party

A Maori Party-Mana alliance is the ultimate marriage of convenience in the Seven Kingdoms.

The seed was already sown following the meeting between Tukoroirangi Morgan and Hone Harawira.

A formal merger is highly unlikely. But a marriage of convenience is very much on the cards. A deal is almost certain to be struck in the Seven Kingdoms.

The King’s endorsement of Mana though has served more reasons than one. It would be a hard sell to say the Kīngitanga was backing an independent Māori voice without acknowledging Mana.

The Political Pawn – Māori Party

The real power-play here is the King’s endorsement of the Māori Party and setting up its alliance with Mana.

In order to strengthen the Kīngitanga’s political relevancy, they need to secure more concessions from the Government.

The King and his office are well and truly  aware of the benefits of sitting at the Government table.

Unlike other political parties, the Māori Party is not tied to the greater party needs and wants. Māori aspirations come first.

And so the King is taking over the Māori Party –  a movement capable of doing the Kīngitanga’s bidding at the Government table. And sitting across from John Key will be none other than Tukoroirangi Morgan.

The Māori Party has been hijacked by the Kīngitanga – they just don’t know it yet.

Perhaps they are willing parties to this power play – they will have been well aware of the significance of appointing Morgan as their party president.

The Princess – Nanaia Mahuta

So, where does Nanaia Mahuta sit in all of this? The Hauraki-Waikato MP has been the political princess of the Kīngitanga for two decades.

Questions have been swirling for a while about whether Mahuta will contest the next election. While she has confirmed she intends to stand, inside sources reveal that is not the case. The King’s attack on Labour all but confirm this. It is no longer a question of if, but simply when Mahuta will step down.

The King’s criticism and its inferred message for voters to ditch Labour now makes it far too awkward for Mahuta to stand at the next election. Hauraki-Waikato are block voters. They have backed Mahuta over the years, much of it based on loyalty.

And loyalty should not be underestimated when it comes to Māori politics. When Labour announced its reshuffle in December 2015, Mahuta was demoted down the list. This caused outrage among Hauraki-Waikato constituents and the Kīngitanga. The King’s spokesman Tuku Morgan came out firing saying Little would regret it and the snub would come back to bite the party in the backside. The Kīngitanga has delivered on that promise.      

Labour has now been outcast by the Māori King, and therefore, the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.

Expect the Māori Party to win this seat at next year’s election.

The Outcast – Andrew Little

Labour has now been outcast by the Māori King, and therefore, the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.

However, with at least another year out from the election, expect further moves to take place in the interim.

As the old saying goes, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Labour have tended to use their Māori support rather than deliver what it has wanted. No are we seeing some utu?

The Gatekeeper – John Key

According to a media advisor in the King’s office, John Key and Kīngi Tuheitia have had at least three meetings in the past six months.

A stronger Māori Party could also be another saviour for National in that it may not have to rely on the Kingmaker – Winston Peters.

The Māori King could save Key from Winston the Kingmaker.

Yet, as they say – a year is a long time in politics. Anything could happen.

But one thing is certain – the Māori politics Game of Thrones is well and truly underway.

Yes, a lot could happen in the next year.

But what Sherman illustrates here is credible, and it looks like a well thought through plan. That could succeed.

The biggest unknown is who will lead the next Government, National or Labour. This plan appears to favour National. But above all it could put the Māori Party, the Māori King and the Mana movement into a very powerful position – and there may be little the rest of us can do about it.

What would provide a strong Māori bloc in Parliament with the most benefits?

A Labour led coalition, where Labour is keen to make up for nine years out of power, the Green Party is keen to launch their long planned ideals, possible NZ First are also in the mix, with the Māori Party making up the numbers?

Or the Māori Party building on their relationship with National, possibly providing National with a path back to power without needing to rely on Winston Peters, and holding on their own a decisive vote?

Where would Mana fit in if Harawira wins his seat back? He has vowed never to team up with National. But he could still team up with the Māori Party, who apart for Confidence and Supply have voted against the Government more than for it.

The next year in politics could be much more interesting than the same old ‘Winston holds the balance of power’.

Fascinating.

Harawira and Fox on 5th Estate

On 5th Estate Hone Harawira claims that reaction to his announcement to standing again in next year’s election is a sign of success.

He particularly poured scorn on Andrew Little.

Appearing beside him is Marama Fox, again, who seems to fit in well with Bradbury’s agenda.

She says that the Maori Party have learnt to work with anyone but maintaining their independence is necessary.

She also said that sitting at the Government table the Maori Party scraps every day for their people.

She say’s ‘we need to see Maori leadership’ in the Labour party.

She corrects Bradbury on his claim that unemployment for Maori is at it’s worst ever. She says it has improved since she became an MP.

He says that the National Government has been a run of tragedy for Maori and blames the Maori Party for approving it all via confidence and supply.

He doesn’t want to be anywhere near ‘scumbags’ like the National Party, he will ‘spit in his face’.

Fox points out they could sit in opposition and throw stones all day and get absolutely nowhere.

They have to fight but achieve things for Maori.

“Maori need to come out of the skirts of National and Labour”.

“We must be a party that shows value add for the whole country.”

She sounds a much more passionate, fiesty and pragamatic person than Harawira.

Harawira “we have to become independent thinkers, we have to become bold”.

He talks about needing to work together, care for each other, to be really strong. That sounds good.

“There needs to be a change in thinking that Maori are important to one another, to love one another, to care for each other”.

Get Maori to think independently and be the best possible they can be.

“The current crop of Maori corporate entities are as rapacious as anyone”.

He is scathing in particular of the corporate model used in fishing that is not benefiting communities. It is disastrous for Maori.

Fox says there are examples where there are attempts to have social entrepreneurship.

Corporates with a brown suit and a white heart are no use to Maori.

Why can’t the Maori party and Mana work together?

Fox says that if she can work with National she can work with anyone.

Harawira says he is up for working more together with the Maori Party. He says that attempts by Fox and him to work together are falling on deaf ears within both parties.

He says the important think, the big game, is caring for the small people.

Fox – “we could eliminate poverty now if there was  a willingness to do it. We could eliminate poverty now if there was a willingness to do it”.

Harawira and Fox reiterate they don’t want to fight with each other.

Fox on the one thing to help Maori – “we need to spend money saving the lives of our young people” with particular reference to suicide rates. “It comes to love in the home, drug and alcohol abuse. We need to give out young hope for the future”.

Harawira’s number one priority is to “feed the kids”. He doesn’t care what colour they are as it will help Maori.


This was a really interesting program. It helped that Bradbury kept out of the way most of the time.

Harawira seemed to follow Fox’s lead and talking about the core issues and what might be done to address them. I saw him in a different light to the usual media sound bites.

So plaudits to Bradbury for allowing this to develop and giving them both space to express themselves.

Duff versus Harawira

In a Herald column Alan Duff writes that Maoridom needs Hone Harawira back in politics like a hole in a waka (he said head but I like waka in it’s place).

The bone-headed fighter? No thanks

Oh dear. Maoridom needs Hone Harawira back in politics like the proverbial hole in the head. He couldn’t get on with the Maori Party, founded the Mana Party, had a bromance with the gifted but flawed German, Kim Dotcom. And when the admirable Kelvin Davis thrashed him in the last election, who does he turn on? Dotcom. But of course others, too.

A man with a hero-complex is not what Maoridom needs. They – our people – do not need someone pandering to our lowest common denominator, telling them their failures are not their fault but the fault of rich white people, greedy capitalists, a stacked system, government, all on the assumption these people are incapable of helping themselves.

Not once have we heard offered a solution to “poor” people’s woes, to “poverty.” He came up with no ideas on creating employment. Nor use of Northland Maori land.

No ideas on instilling an education ethos in the outlook of the very culture of those he claims to be fighting for. His ideas were and still are zilch.

He hasn’t demonstrated by a single gesture that maybe he should take a less hardline stance. Oh, no. Not Hone. He’s the self-described “fighter.” Whoopee, that’s gonna put a lot of Maori into their own homes and give them jobs, lift us up to the educated, aspiring middle class, a scrapper representing us.

Duff continues to pile into Harawira, then continues:

The last thing we need are bloody bone-headed fighters. Sure, genetically, we’ve all got the warrior in us. But for God’s sake know when to apply it and certainly not to advancing the Maori race.

We need our woman elevated to absolutely equal status. Not this outdated model of assigning women seats behind the front row because – yeah, sure – they need the males to protect them. Yes, women do need protecting – from too many of our Maori males. Too many of our kids need protecting from adult Maori males.

That’s a valid point but is on a much wider Maori issue than Harawira.

Maoridom doesn’t need tough-guy rhetoric, or protest for its own sake, a ceaseless outpour of negativity and blame-laying. In case you’re not aware, Hone, we’ve long used role models at our schools to give positive messages like: “It’s cool to read. It’s cool to aspire.” That’s all. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Not for Hone. He wants to make it a scrap, a brawl, a war of insults and sarcasm. The man who thought Helen Clark getting “the bash” when she was mobbed by protesters at Te Tii Marae was not so bad.

Protest is useful if used wisely and sparingly – it’s important to pick fights that can be won rather than be a perpetual scrapper.

We knew he’d be back because he loves a scrap and loves being a heroic warrior figure.

He could try sitting down with people who are reasonable and come up with solutions to end Maori poverty and all our other problems.

This half-Maori columnist certainly believes Maori have a bright future, if only we could shut down the negative messages.

Or at least get the positive and constructive messages out there louder and more often so there is more prominence than the victim movement.

Not surprisngly the Bradbury promotion is giving Harawira an airing – Exclusive to Waatea 5th Estate 7pm tonight – Hone Harawira & Marama Fox

Bomber promotes war, fear and terror in NZ

Fear, terror, hate, evil, war.

Don’t worry, what this Bomber promotes is unlikely to be felt by anyone. He is as lethal as a water bomb using a hundred year old balloon.

From a Martyn Bradbury post at The Daily Blog: Andrew Little + John Key declare war on Hone Harawira and MANA movement

There has been no official declarations, just more wishful thinking. But the language used is trying hard to promote conflict.

John Key and Andrew Little have immediately opened up a war of words…

No they haven’t, they responded to news that Harawira was standing in next year’s election with more like ‘yeah, so what’.

Both Little & Key have very specific reasons for attacking MANA…

…it highlights how both political parties fear a populist peoples movement…

For Little, his attack on Hone is part of Labour’s terror

…Labour who illegally sent the terror squad…

Labour hate being reminded…

For Key. his attack on Hone is fuelled…

The fear Hone has caused by just announcing he is back…

…a reminder of how terrified the establishment are that the poor could gain genuine political representation.

…to overthrow this evil Government

Bomber against the world. The same old revolution repackaged with rusty old rhetoric.

Someone recently referred to him as Cadbury, but his chocolate mind has been in the sun too long.

Morphing the Mana Party into the MANA Movement may make some headway, but with friends like Martyn there won’t be many parties quaking in their political boots.

Not much to fear here.

Labour versus Harawira

It looks like Labour and Hone Harawira may be set to cold shoulder each other after Harawira announced that he would stand in Te Tai Tokerau in next year’s election.

Te Reo Putake posts on this at The Standard in Mana 2.0

It’s more like Mana 4.0 after Mana formed when Harawira split from the Maori Party (1.0), then jumped into Mana+Kim Dotcom prior to the 2014 election (2.0), then virtually disappeared along with Harawira after he lost his electorate (3.0), and now rises from the ashes (4.0).

TRP actually details all these phases:

Hone Harawira has announced he is re-forming the Mana Movement and intends standing in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate at the next election. Harawira has also suggested that prominent pakeha mana leaders Sue Bradford and John Minto will have lower profiles this time around.

Harawira told Mihingarangi Forbes on TV3’s The Hui that he was re-forming the Mana Movement because Māori lacked a strong voice in Parliament. The man he has to beat in Te Tai Tokerau, Kelvin Davis, probably disagrees.

Mr Harawira first won Te Tai Tokerau as as a supporter of the National Government, then split from the Maori party to form the Mana party, winning the seat again in a by-election. Harawira’s decision to ally with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party in 2014 was a disaster, with IP/Mana gaining just 1.5 percent of the party vote and losing Te Tai Tokerau to Labour’s Kelvin Davis.

He then outlines why Harawira and Labour are unlikely to be helpful to each other:

Harawira says a partnership with Labour is unlikely, as he feels its leader, Andrew Little, has led the Labour party away from its working-class roots.

“He seems to be a nice enough guy, but he keeps bouncing around from trying to sound tough to trying to sound centrist, and I just think the leader of the Labour Party should have made up his mind by now. I think he sings from a different song sheet that boy, and it’s not exactly the song sheet that fits the Mana profile.”

So no chance of a Labour/Greens style arrangement then, which presumably means he won’t be winning Te Tai Tokerau back and Mana redux is probably dead in the water already.

And:

Anyway, good on Hone for trying again. It’s just a shame that by distancing himself from Labour at a time when they are open to partnership approaches he has almost certainly doomed Mana 2.0 before it has even got started.

Comments are a mix of support and criticism. This exchange indicates a few tensions on the labour left.

weka 7

Wow, that knife must have already been sharpened and ready, eh trp?

Well done on creating a misleading and partisan post before the announcement even hit the ground, one that can only be designed to be divisive. Hard to see what the point is, given that Labour need as much help as they can get.

  • Meh. Hone made the announcement that he will not work with Labour, not the other way round. If you have a complaint, take it up with him. As I noted in the post, it’s a bit weird for Hone to write off a possible partnership when Labour are open to discussions about exactly that possibility. Not that I’m suggesting Labour would have done a deal in TTT, just that such arrangements are clearly on Labour’s agenda at the moment and it would have been in Mana’s interests to explore it further.

    • You dont understand Mana and all of your pronouncements on what’s good for mana are based actually on what you think is good for labour

BydOnz illustrates another reason why Mana will struggle to get much more than 1% support:

Sorry Hone, a Marxist revolutionary call would be the go, smash this bullshit corporate crapitalism that only benefits the one percent and their underling traitors.

Greg suggests:

Bradford and Minto on board will be like having concrete boots.
Just go independent.

Sue Bradford wouldn’t have anything to do with the Internet-Mana marriage on principle so I don’t know if she would even return.

Alan gives a reminder of a major problem last election:

Hone and Winston propping up Labour and the Greens – yea that is going to work

People like Martyn Bradbury were prematurely predicting with glee how Mana-Internet would hold the balance of power after the 2014 election and the hard left tail would wag the Labour dog.

And Alan also points out:

Hone and Winston are polar opposites and despise each others politics, NZF + Labour + Greens is difficult enough, adding Hone to the equation makes it very difficult.

Labour+Green is a hard enough sell to centre and swing voters as it is, Labour+Greens+Mana makes that a lot harder.

TRP again:

I’d say Hone has his work cut out for him. He won the seat as part of the maori party and had their organisation, and popular support behind him. Then he won it in a by-election under the mana banner. Then lost it, despite having Dotcom’s millions behind him.

Having to win it back against a popular and effective local MP is a big ask. I don’t see that he has the kind of organisation behind him now to make it work, nor has he got the kind of issues that might galvanise the electorate. Or to put the latter in another way, the issues that are important in the electorate can probably be better addressed by Kelvin Davis as part of the Labour/Greens government.

It’s just going to be really tough for him to get cut through.

Especially tough if TRP reflects Labour’s ‘no way Hone’ attitude.

Peter Swift

Labour and the Greens need to come out early doors and say they won’t ever deal and work with mana,. There is nothing in a union with them except lost votes and voter disdain.
To the vast majority of NZ, for whatever reasons, Hone is toxic. Having him in the political mix is an oxygen sucking recurring nightmare for parties wanting to engage the left of centre middle ground. He’s so unlike able in NZ, even his own constituency rejected him last election night, leaving him to boo hoo on the tele.

If the left are serious about winning in 2017 then we have to act on this asap.

When challenged on ‘us on the left’ he added:

Us left of centre and not the sub 1% loony left is more specific.

And then reiterates an earlier comment by Swordfish.

I trust the insight and impartiality of this contributor’s opinion more than I do yours.

http://thestandard.org.nz/mana-2-0/#comment-1191095

“As a bona fide Leftie (rather than Centre-Leftie), I’d suggest that Labour and the Greens are at far greater risk of losing the next Election if voters come to believe that any putative Labour-led Govt would be in any way reliant on Harawira and Mana to govern.

Let’s be crystal clear here – both the Mana Party and the Internet Party were absolutely toxic to voters at the last Election. Even the faintest whiff among the New Zealand Electorate that Harawira might play a crucial role in allowing a Labour-led Govt to be formed will scare the bejesus out of a whole swathe of potential swing voters.”

I’m not sure Swordfish is exactly impartial but this may illustrate Labour’s real problem with Harawira and Mana that TRP didn’t express, instead blaming Harawira for ruling out liaising with Labour.

TRP also dissed the Maori Party as National supporters.

I understand how Labour may have concerns about being seen as associated with Harawira and Mana, but Labour have what could be a significant problem here.

A large number of voters obviously don’t see any problem with National associating with and working with ACT, United Future and the Maori Party.

Labour must be super-confident to burn off in advance the Maori MPs, Dunne and Harawira, or bereft of any understanding of how MMP works.

A party struggling to rise above 30% does not have the luxury of being that selective about potential coalition partners.

Harawira confirms he will stand again

Hone Harawira has confirmed he will stand for Te Tai Tokerau again in  next year’s election.

Toby Manhire was observant:

First item on list for : review Twitter handle/biog

Harawira almost immediately dropped out of everything political after losing in the 2014 election, and the Mana Party website also disappeared. Housekeeping like updating Twitter handles seems to have been missed.

Harawira himself doesn’t seem to have been active on twitter, but his MP twitter handle has been referred to including by @NZMorningReport and @Waatea5thEstate

UPDATE: RNZ now have an item on this: Harawira sets sights on political return

He told RNZ’s Mihingarangi Forbes on TV3’s The Hui he was re-entering the political fray because Māori lacked a strong voice in Parliament.

Mr Harawira said many Māori MPs got caught up in party politics, and forgot who they were meant to be representing.

“You’ve gotta have somebody in there who’s a fighter,” he said.

“Somebody who won’t be cowed by party politics or by Parliamentary politics, and is gong to stand up and say what needs to be said, whenever it needs to be said.

“Kelvin’s tried, I think Marama’s tried, but they keep getting squeezed back into that party box.”

The problem is that being ‘a fighter’ and not working with parties in Parliament means you are unlikely to get much done other than fighting talk.

To achieve things you have to get a Parliamentary majority. Individual fighters, or even a handful of fighters, are unlikely to succeed with much in a democracy.

Mr Harawira said he was unlikely to work with the Labour Party, which he thought was too centrist.

He said its leader Andrew Little had led the party away from its working-class roots.

“I think he sings from a different song sheet that boy, and it’s not exactly the song sheet that fits the Mana profile.

“He seems to be a nice enough guy, but he keeps bouncing around from trying to sound tough to trying to sound centrist, and I just think the leader of the Labour Party should have made up his mind by now.”

Mr Harawira said his former Mana Movement colleagues, Sue Bradford and John Minto, could be involved in the party, but in less prominent roles than in 2014.

 

A Harawira comeback?

It looks like Hone Harawira is going to attempt a political comeback.

Source from the North: Hone Harawira WILL contest the 2017 election in Te Tai Tokerau, for the Mana Movement

If he stands in Te Tai Tokerau it will be interesting to see how Labour deals with the campaign there. Kelvin Davis won the electorate off Harawira in 2014, much to the annoyance of Mana and Internet Party supporters who needed an electorate win to make it into Parliament.

There was also quite a bit of annoyance that Mana got on board with the money man, Kim Dotcom. There will be memories of that.

While Mana supporters have remained active the Party has virtually disappeared with their website gone and only spasmodic activity on Facebook.

They seem to have tried to re-brand themselves as a ‘movement’ but there hasn’t been much sign of it.

Trottermania and revolution

Chris Trotter reveals some of the thinking of the revolutionary left in his latest post Making It Stop: Taking Stock Of 4 February 2016, With Some Thoughts About The Way Forward.

First he thanks the organisers of Thursday’s TPPA protest in Auckland.

To Jane Kelsey and Barry Coates I can only say thank you. Demonstrations like the one I marched in on Thursday don’t just happen. They are the product of hours and days and years of hard work, during which people fight not only against loneliness and fatigue, but against the insidious thought that their unceasing efforts might all be in vain.

Observing the glowing faces of Jane and Barry, as they rode down Queen Street on the afternoon of 4 February 2016, it was their selfless commitment to battling on, heedless of setbacks and against all odds, that brought tears to my eyes. Once again, thank you.

One of the features of the protest was the re-emergence of Hone Harawira and the Mana Movement, fighting for Maori sovereignty despite Harawira and others making ignorant or deliberately false claims about it – see Harawira versus TPPA.

Jane Kelsey has been a long time anti-trade political activist who has been working with the Labour Party with their move to a more anti-TPPA stance – see Kelsey briefing Labour on TPPA.

Involved in uniting Kelsey with Labour was Andrew Little’s chief of staff Matt McCarten, who happens to have had close connections with the Mana Party.

Barry Coates was number 17 on the Green Party list for the 2014 election. Recently number 16 Marama Davidson replaced Russel Norman in Parliament so Coates is next in line to be an MP. Here’s his Green candidate profile.

Back to Trotter:

BUT, NOW WHAT? In which direction should the energy generated by the 4 February protest actions be turned?

He suggests a few ongoing protest actions. Then:

The extent to which these core messages have already entered the public’s consciousness has unpleasantly surprised the TPPA’s supporters.

I think he may be overestimating how much the public knows or cares about the TPPA, and there are ample indications the media can see through their spin and have started to call them on it.

Radio NZ, One News and Newshub all showed how little the core messages had entered the protesters’s consciousness let alone the wider public.

They were taken aback at the size and vehemence of the Auckland protests and will already be working on ways to unpick the picture Jane Kelsey and her comrades have embroidered so vividly on the public mind. The Government’s and big businesses’ counter-offensive will have to be met, held, and rolled back.

The comrades versus big business – that’s the core message about what’s driving the TPPA opposition.

I know someone who went to a meeting last week featuring Comrade Kelsey. They genuinely hoped to be informed about the TPPA. They were gobsmacked about how sour and substance-less the messages were.

Strategically, the struggle is between the progressive/patriotic forces operating within the twelve signatory states, and the defenders of the transnational corporations. Obviously, this puts the “Pro” forces at a serious disadvantage. Far from being able to pass themselves off as promoters of the public good, they will emerge from the contest as the big corporations’ fifth columnists, committed to defeating the patriots fighting to prevent the agreement’s ratification.

The people versus the corporations again.

John Key and his Government thus risk entering election year as a collection of figurative “Quislings”, guilty of conspiring against the national interest on behalf of entities without countries, morals or scruples.

If this perception can be driven deep into the electorate’s mind, then National’s chances of re-election will be nil.

Trotter’s comrades dream. It’s a dream they also had last term, with asset sales instead of the TPPA, that became a nightmare when the reality of the election result hit home.

More importantly, the victorious coalition of Labour, the Greens and NZ First will be swept into office with a broad mandate to take on a corporate plutocracy that has ruled without challenge for far too long.

Wonderful. And the world will be rescued from evil at last.

For the first time in over 30 years, there will be a mass political movement dedicated to putting itself “upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus” of the neoliberal machine – and making it stop.

Except this time Labour seem to have decided to fight for the Mana space on the far left, after their worst election result in living memory in part due to a voter reaction against the Internet-Mana.

Comrades were convinced that Internet-Mana would hold the deciding votes after the last election,  and the glorious revolution would be realised.

But instead they crashed, and burned Labour.

Trotter seems to think Labour-Mana is a winning combination along with the Greens and NZ First. I wonder what Winston thinks of all this, he’s politically very astute.

Not long ago Trotter tweeted a link to his post:

Some thoughts on Thursday’s anti-TPPA demo. Has the “Missing Million” woken up?

The ‘missing million’ dream was another failure last election. The ones who vote saw through it.

This seems like just another swing between Trottermanic and Trotterdepressive.

What’s missing is 21st century reality.

Too many Maori, not enough chiefs

Breakfast has just had two contradictory items on the continuing mess at Waitangi.

First they interviewed Manu Paul who slammed John Key for trying to bring talk about the TPPA to Waitangi.

They have followed that with “former politician” Hone Harawira slamming Key for not coming to Waitangi to discuss the TPPA in the political debate tent he is organising.

Paul criticised Key for poor communication. The problem is who the hell should key communicate with?

Some say Key should talk to Maori about their issues. Others say they would have done everything the could to stop Key from talking there.

Too many Maori and not enough chiefs?

Mixed Māori messages on TPPA

There are mixed messages from Māori interests over the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, with some individuals and groups strongly against it, while groups with business interests can see potential benefits for Māori .

Protests are expected at Waitangi this week, and a hikoi is on it’s way from Cape Reinga, with Hone Harawira coming out of his political hiatus.

Māori Television reports Hikoi against TPPA sends loud message from Māori:

Mana Party Leader, Hone Harawira says, “The TPPA is a new treaty or covenant by which government can steal, usurp our sovereign rights.  So I’m calling on the public to be united to retain our sovereign rights and not just sit hopelessly allowing it to happen.”

“If the horse has already bolted then it’s our Prime Minister who opened the gate and that’s the issue.  We must get rid of him and create a Māori government and a Māori parliament that will rid us of this deal that is no good for this country or its people.”

The march may have only just begun but it’s already attracting support from a diverse range of groups.

Heeni Hoterene says, “This march is bringing a whole range of diverse groups together all in opposition to the TPPA.”

Of course all groups who join an anti-TPPA hikoi will be in opposition to the TPPA.

But not all Māori groups are against the TPPA. NZ Herald reports: Māori see TPP benefits, risks

Some Māori business leaders say there are risks with the Trans Pacific Partnership, but people should look at it again to see the benefits it offers for the Maori economy.

Harawira is not likely to look at it again, but some Māori groups see potential benefits.

Paul Majurey, chair of the Hauraki Collective:

The Maori economy has been estimated at $40 billion and Auckland lawyer Paul Majurey, chair of the Hauraki Collective, said Pare Hauraki’s fishing and aquaculture assets would benefit and the trust was supportive of the deal.

It already exported to China and Japan and the TPP would open access to Japan where fish products faced stiff tariffs.

The agreement would also allow Maori to form partnerships with investors from those countries, as happened under the China FTA.

He said there were risks and it was natural Maori would be concerned about sovereignty and the erosion of Treaty of Waitangi rights.

“There are issues and question marks with any international agreement that involves our sovereignty.”

He said the TPP protected the Treaty and reserved the right to protect rights to traditional knowledge and plants, according to the Wai 262 finding.

Traci Houpapa, the chair of the Federation of Maori Authorities (Foma)…

…said the TPP had obvious benefits for Maori exporters and businesses and that would flow through to communities.

She said New Zealand could not miss the chance to sit with global heavyweights such as the US and Japan, and hoped consultation on the agreement over coming months would provide Maori with assurances about the Treaty partnership.

“People are wanting assurances that partnership is in place and isn’t impacted by the TPP.”

She was comfortable that other trade agreements had upheld the Treaty.

“And our expectation is this Government will do the same,” she said.

She said New Zealand was the only country with protections for indigenous rights in the trade agreement.

Taranaki-based Parininihi ki Waitotara chair Hinerangi Raumati…

…said most of the assets were in dairy and while the deal did not deliver as much as had been hoped for, she did not believe it was something to be scared about.

“If it benefits the New Zealand economy, it’s got to be benefiting the Maori economy and I guess we’ll see that in time.”

The protesters are likely to get much more media coverage than the supporters.